A village in Kastoria got a resident after 73 years – What the lonely villager says


The village was abandoned in 1949 due to the civil war and since then no one has returned. Now, Mr. Nikos from Thessaloniki has decided to stay there permanently and explains the reasons he made this decision

The traffic on the streets, the horns, the voices and the fast pace of everyday life in the city, he felt, turned his life into an unequal struggle for survival. But he did not stay idle. He turned his back on bustling Thessaloniki and decided to move to an abandoned village in Kastoria.

THE Nikos Nikolaidis worked for decades in the center of Thessaloniki, specifically in Aristotelous. However, his love for nature and life in the countryside won him over and pushed him to make a difficult but important decision. He changed the page, requested and received a transfer to the Kastoria law and is now the only permanent resident in the village of Giannohori, which had been inhabited since 1949.

“Life in Thessaloniki in recent years has started to become unbearable for me,” Nikos Nikolaidis points out to the Athenian/Macedonian News Agency and explains: “If we also take into account the burden of measures against COVID-19 and its variants, you understand how much the quality of life has fallen. Locking myself in an apartment is not an option for me. For several years, whatever I did every day, my mind was on how to escape from the city to go to the village. After the loss of my wife two years ago, it was now a matter of time for me to make the final decision and leave.”

The Pserimos since 1949

They started building the house next to the river, together with his wife, in 2009, in the village of Giannohori in the municipality of Nestorio, Kastoria. The village, as he says, was abandoned in 1949 by its inhabitants, as the civil war raged, and since then none of them have returned. When they saw the slope that was built so that the sun could see it from the east to the west and Aliakmonas flows at the foot, “the love was lightning fast” and they decided that only there they could have a house outside the city.


As he says, he has now made a new start in his life. He lives all alone in an entire village! He doesn’t have everything next to him, like he did in the city. However, he tries to have a sufficient supply of basic necessities, as the nearest point of supply is Nestorio, which is 21 km away.

“Communication is a basic need and by communication I mean having a good phone signal and the now necessary internet, because there is no infrastructure for a landline phone. The fact that I am alone in the village does not concern me and has not troubled me yet, because every now and then someone will pass by the neighboring villages and sit down to drink a tsipouraki. In general, the inhabitants of the surrounding villages are good, they are hospitable, they will not be afraid to let you into their house or treat you to a coffee in the cafe”, he notes.

“Not even bears live there”

“When someone goes to live in a village that has seen a permanent resident since 1949, you understand that at first they treat him with disbelief… “Stop it, you live there permanently. Not even the bears live there”, they tell me, and then they ask me: “Well how did you decide that?”. Where I laugh is with the public services and DEKO, in Kastoria, when I tell them that I live in Giannohori. First they will laugh and then they say: “Now tell us where you live”. Consider the surprise of the ELTA Nestoriu employee, when I said that she should bring my mail to Giannohori. Like the others, after laughing, he said to me: “Okay, now tell me where you rent so I can bring it to you.”

Thessaloniki, as he confides, is a city he loved very much, as he has lived there since 1980. However, in this period of his life, he could not keep him… “Once I wondered if I had done the right thing by leaving and I said to myself: “if you think you made a mistake, go to Thessaloniki, take the city bus in the morning to go to work and then again at 3:00 PM to return home”. I immediately lost my wonder!”, he explains and bursts into laughter.

“My life is now simple and beautiful”

Describing his daily life, he says that it has changed radically, as calmness, natural beauty and harmony are the protagonists in his life. “I will go to work in the morning. Back at noon, I’ll feed the cats (I have two), eat, and then do various chores around the house or out in the yard. Homework outside the city never ends. When I’m not working, I take the backpack and go to the forest in the morning and come back in the late afternoon. When I don’t want to do any of that, a book is my best companion. My life now is simple and beautiful.”


As he underlines, in the service he was in, he had not encountered any problems and his colleagues, as well as the occasional commanders he had, were wonderful people. They have always helped him, not only in his official duties, but also in his personal problems and for that he thanks them all. The same climate, however, met Nestorius as well, although he is still in the getting-to-know-you stage, everyone is willing to help him if he needs anything. The workload, of course, as he points out, cannot be compared, the sizes are completely different.

“The fact that I am not close to nature, but in it, is what fascinates me most of all in my new life”, Nikos Nikolaidis confesses and explains that “the only sound I hear is the one coming from the river and the only voices come from the wild animals. In the morning I will make my coffee and enjoy it with the most beautiful view in front of me. No more honking at traffic lights and the voices of angry people. The work is 21 km from the house, but these are located in the wonderful Aliakmons ravine and all I meet are hares, roe deer, wild boars, well now you also meet them in Aristotelous and very rarely any bears”, he points out with a wide smile.


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